Many businesses begin digital transformations with a lot of energy and good intentions, but fail to create lasting change. A year down the line, the same leaders can end up around the same table where they first initiated the efforts and wondered where it all went wrong. More often than not the answer comes back to the same thing: company culture. Without changing how your company operates at a fundamental level, individual changes to your digital strategy won’t lead to real transformation.
To achieve long-term impact, companies need to reimagine how their products and services deliver value to their end users. An organizational culture that stresses aligning decision-making with business goals throughout their digital transformation efforts is significantly more likely to succeed. The focus should be on making changes to give end users a better experience, making it more likely they’ll take the action you want them to take–whether that’s a sale, a download, a newsletter sign up or some other metric. Instead of treating the symptoms of failure, a successful transformation drills down to solve the actual problem that’s preventing users from taking the desired action in the first place. Meaningful improvements to a business can only happen if the whole company culture is focused on affecting business outcomes.
Achieving that alignment starts at the top of the organization. Leaders have to weave this mindset across their company to break apart the silos that stand in the way of integration. Take, for example, a company that tries to implement a new e-commerce solution without integrating customer service and logistics into the plan. A development team could build the most fantastic website on the market, but without the ability to deliver products on time, the aesthetics of the site don’t matter. Customers will notice the fractured experience and look for a better solution elsewhere next time they need it.
A company’s culture is collectively determined by its people. At every level, people want to contribute their feedback and experience to the digital transformation effort. Building a culture that abolishes silos will empower people to collaborate and make decisions. Your employees are on the front lines of building and providing your customer experience. It only makes sense to give them the ability to implement your digital transformation. When they have the freedom to construct solutions across their departments, no success will exist in solitude. Marketing success will feed into sales success, supported and enhanced by the transformation gains made up and down the organization.
Companies that succeed with digital transformation know it’s not a fad. It doesn’t come solely from a new piece of hardware or updated software. It comes as the result of a culture focused on listening to users and aligning around business goals. That’s how they make the transformation permanent, and how they get ahead of the competition.